FORMER Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath is the most high profile political figure to be linked to child sex abuse allegations that have swept across Westminster.
A raft of politicians from across the political spectrum has been accused of abusing children, including the late former cabinet minister Leon Brittan, Liberal Democrat Sir Cyril Smith and current Labour peer and former MP Lord Janner.
Last month New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard launched Britain’s largest public inquiry into historic abuse, which is expected to continue until 2020.
Judge Goddard said it would travel from the “corridors of power” in Westminster to the poorest parts of the country to uncover the true scale of child sex abuse.
In July documents were also revealed showing spy chiefs warned the Thatcher government in the 1980s that allegations an MP had a “penchant for small boys” risked causing it political embarrassment.
Newly uncovered files show former MI5 director general Sir Antony Duff wrote to the then Cabinet Secretary Sir Robert Armstrong in 1986 over claims made by two sources about the MP.
Brittan, Peter Morrison, who was an aide to Margaret Thatcher, ex-diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and former minister William van Straubenzee were named in other top secret files uncovered following the review.
In 2012 Operation Fairbank was launched to look into claims that there was a paedophile ring with links to government in response to information passed on by Labour MP Tom Watson.
Mr Watson used parliamentary privilege to allege that a file of evidence used to convict Peter Righton of importing child pornography in 1992 contained ‘’clear intelligence’’ of a sex abuse gang linked to Number 10.
Fairbank has since spawned more inquiries, including Operation Midland, which is investigating claims of a VIP paedophile ring in Westminster in the 1970s and 80s involved in the murder of three boys; Fernbridge, which is looking at claims linked to the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south west London, in the 1980s; and Cayacos, which is investigating historic cases linked to the Paedophile Information Exchange.
Lord Janner is to face a prosecution for child sex offences after Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders was forced into a U-turn.
An independent review overturned Ms Saunders’ controversial decision that the former Labour peer should face no action over child abuse allegations because he is suffering from Alzheimer’s.
A “trial of the facts”, where a jury hears the evidence against an individual considered too ill for a full trial, will now be held into 22 offences allegedly committed in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.